It has never been more important than now to take care of our environment, and that starts in your immediate space, the one you inhabit, and then spreads into the outer world. Recycling is second nature for most of us. We wash out bottles and cans, plastic containers and cartons and throw them in the right bin for the recycle guy to take away and do some magical things with them. In some places like Adelaide, South Australia where I live, we don’t have plastic bags in our shops and religiously take our own “green bags” when we go to the supermarket. Bottles and cans can get you a cash bonus. I have flashback to brown paper bags and boxes for shopping but with a much less tactile green bag experience.
Many of us are aiming for a greener lifestyle on multiple levels. We try to have urban gardens, compost, chooks and vegies in our own back yard or even an apartment patio.
We may choose organic, locally grown foods where we can, free range meats, or go meat free. We drive eco cars and install solar panels on our homes. We talk proudly about our personal attempts at trying to ensure the longevity of this remarkable planet and the reduction of our own footprint.
But are we really green? Or maybe this is just another trend for some of the “keep up with the Joneses” to say that you are buying local and organic, or having meatless Mondays and then driving off in a gas guzzling four wheel drive, that never actually gets to go off road, to buy the latest lounge suite, to sit and watch your 750 inch plasma with surround sound. I think lots of people may be just shades of green, or maybe if you squint your eyes really tight they may have only a slight tinge of green to their lives, or perhaps it was just the light.
I know I walk somewhere between green and not so green. I have driven a hybrid car for many years, we recycle, compost, grow a small vegie patch in our urban garden. We also still over spend, over shop and over consume. We spoil our children. We throw away far too much food. We get sucked in by dreams about what we can buy, the bigger house, the new bathroom, the pretty shiny things that are constantly thrown at our minds from many directions each day, luckily often stopping before we actually go over the line and end up in more debt for crap we don’t really need.
Where do you sit on this?
One thing that you can do to contribute to a healthier planet, is to visit Op Shops and garage sales, and get into vintage decorating. Lots of my clothes and the stuff in my home is second hand. There is nothing quite like the thrill of the hunt, the finding of treasure and the uniqueness of a piece of furniture or fabric you find in the back of a dusty Op Shop that says “individuality”. If you are like me you will thrive in an environment that is eclectic, rich in colours, textures and most of all, is full of stories. Besides the fact that I love a bargain, the thing that really connects deeply in finding and surrounding yourself with these treasures, are the human histories that live within each piece.
When I look around my home and see the battered art deco cupboard, or the chest of drawers we found it the back of a shed at a garage sale made of Australian Oak, I think of the many years of different hands opening the doors to take out what was needed,who made it, who bought it brand new and who eventually threw it away or pushed it to the back of their lives and their shed. When I sit in the lovely chairs that don’t match but that go together so well, some with slight curves in the seats where other tired bottoms have plonked into at the end of the day, or sat with a warm cup of tea as they chatted with their best friend, it makes me feel connected. It makes me feel real.
We got rid of the woeful 1980’s doors that were in every room of our 1949 home and went to the salvage yard looking for art deco doors to replace them. We wanted to inject some character into our house with good bones. We hit gold with the exact number of the most beautiful art deco doors with copper handles! You just never know what you will find. Being a chippie my hubby was able to make them all fit perfectly and it has added a beautiful and unique character to our home. As I sit and look around my little house I feel happy. I feel connected and, I feel just a little darker shade of green.